Reusing waste materials is a trend very popular abroad. Mostly young people, either out of an internal need for creation and innovation, or because of the economic crisis, but also because of environmental awareness, make art out of waste materials which most people throw in trash.
Cyprus is no exception. Several young artists follow this trend which became more widespread especially after the economic crisis hit Cyprus in 2013.
Thirty-four year old Vasilis Agathocleous has a shop in his home town Limassol called Titan Greenlight. Vasilis is an electrician and mostly makes various installations and smaller constructions and creations using photovoltaic and led lamps, wood and metal. He opened his shop in 2014.
“The reuse of waste material is like creating the world from the beginning, something we might consider useless is potentially useful and can become an imaginative creation, ” Vasilis tells CNA.
He says he started working with reused materials about four years ago, at the peak of the economic crisis.
“I was looking for creative ways for my constructions, methods and material both economic, useful and aesthetically beautiful. Then I was inspired by the reuse of these materials which can be reused “, he says.
Vasilis finds his materials from places where these materials are already being used and end up being useless, from landfills and in plots where people usually throw things which are no longer useful to them and they want to get rid of.
He tells CNA that it would have been extremely useful and environmentally correct to have a green point where artists like himself could collect materials and reuse them.
“These useless materials to some, in the right hands can become objects of art , something both beautiful and useful, but unfortunately I don’t see some a green point being constructed any time soon’’, he says.
Vasilis says he makes his own creations out of pure inspiration, but his customers can choose whatever they want, something that suits their style and can be practical and useful in their place, house, office etc.
He says his constructions are quite affordable, made for all budgets as prices range. Vasilis can work on a piece from hours to several days depending on the construction, the material, the complexity.
“Reusing materials certainly contributes to the protection of the environment and I urge others to do so as well. Basically all of us will have to find new uses for items that for most people are useless’’, he said.
We asked him about the reaction of people and their approach to this kind of art from reused materials.
‘’Well, this is quite common abroad, to create art objects from reused materials, and like every trend, it eventually makes it to Cyprus. Reactions vary. People are generally positive. 30 and 40 year olds have a preference to these objects and they better understand the substance of using useless and old objects and materials’’, he says.
Vasilis works alone and so far he has presented his work at an exhibition for the EU project LIFE + in which CNA is a partner.
“One can find samples of my work at my shop in Limassol which I opened in 2014 but also on my page on Facebook. Social media are an excellent means to show our work to the public, there are no resources for advertising and social media plays this role. I have become known like this. I like the interaction I get from the people, they comment, they ask questions, they want to know about my work’’, he tells CNA.
“Wider social progress can only be achieved through creativity and to this end each one of us can contribute. Either by reusing material or by supporting these artists. Anything that is useless to you can potentially become a useful and imaginative creation in my hands’’, he says.
Vasilis believes that creativity is the main way to fight economic crisis and break the vicious circle. And when that creativity is translated into environmental protection, reduction of waste etc, then the satisfaction is even greater.